The Costumer's Manifesto:Costume Sites on the WWW #6: Masks,"Fursuits" and Puppet Making Costume Sites on the WWW #6:Masks, Fursuits and Puppet Making
By Tara Maginnis
Masks and mask making tutorials also can be found on the WWW, along with crossover how-to information on fursuit and puppet making techniques that apply to mask making as well.Latex mask making tutorials have been excluded from this listing for later inclusion in a future article on theatre makeup.This listing just has a taste of what is out there.Many other mask links may be found at This article is mirrored online at
Masks.org broken link One of the largest online databases of traditional and designer masks online.Also includes articles on historical masks, how-to articles, and a large number of links to other useful mask sites.
Agayuliyararput: Our Way of Making Prayer: The Living Tradition of Yup'ik Masks http://www.costumes.org/pages/masksand.htmhttp://www.costumes.org/pages/crj.htmhttp://www.si.umich.edu/CHICO/yupik
Has a large collection of masks from the Yupik Eskimo, along with lots of text about the historical and cultural significance of masks in Alaska & Canada.
UMista Potlatch Collection broken link shows a smaller collection of masks from the Kwakwala speaking groups of Northwest Coast Indians in British Columbia, along with the story of their repatriation.
Indigenous Dance/Drama/Carnival Masks from Mesoamericabroken link is a great example of a commercial site that operates as an online museum of images of traditional masks they have sold in the past, as well as their current offerings.Includes online bios of many of their mask artists.
The Mask Project broken link archives mask designs made by artists and celebrities as part of the New York Mask Project, a charitable fundraiser.
Leather Mask Workshop http://www.csu.edu.au/faculty/arts/commun/cycle/mask/
Complete coverage of the 10 day (90 hour) workshop in the design and construction of leather performance masks by Paolo Consiglio, at The Crago Mill Regional Arts Centre, Piper Street, Bathurst, NSW, Australia. Includes photos and instructions for all the days projects, with QuickTime video of important bits.One of the best how-to sites on the web.
has a shorter page of tips for making leather masks under their page how-to.
Maskmaking: Doing it Yourself http://members.ozemail.com.au/~dhell/diy.htm
details a method for making Commedia masks of felt and glue.
Mendels- Mask Making http://www.mendels.com/mask.html
describes plaster bandage mask making clearly enough with words and pictures, that I give the URL to my students who are absent on mask making day in class, and they can do the project at home.
A Milliners Approach to Maskmaking http://www.library.yale.edu/~lso/drama/mask.html
is an online reprint of a Yale University School of Drama Department of Technical Design & Production Technical Brief of 1994, describing Katherine Sniders method for making buckram masks, with pictures.
Strange to say,there is a whole little world out there of hobbyists who make fursuits aka fur-covered creature costumes similar to sport-mascots or the cartoon character suits worn by hapless young actors at theme parks.These folks have put lots of useful how-to sites on the WWW, of which this is only a very small sample:
FURSUIT: The Furry Costume Information Exchange http://www.fursuit.org
Is the home of the Fursuit FAQ list, which complies the tips and supply sources of all the aspects and techniques of fursuit building.
Yahoo Fursuiting Workshop http://clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/fursuitingworkshop
Is an club, egroup, and information links site for the fursuit making community.The archive of posts answers many how-to questions, and the links connect to most of the important, and unimportant fursuit sites.
Carving a Foam Head http://www.nicodemus.org/fursuit.cgi?design-foamhead
Is a single highly useful page in a larger site.It describes how to carve an animal head out of insulation foam and cover it with fake fur as part of making an animal costume.
The Puppeteers' Cooperative Home Page http://www.gis.net/~puppetco
has thumbnail sketches of dozens of good ideas for the sort of big street theatre puppets beloved of radical protesters, costumed marathon runners and children.Part costume, part mask, part sculpture, these napkin doodle type plans are simple enough to be used by amateurs, and flashy enough to have great applications in theatre costuming.
The Puppetry Home Page http://www.sagecraft.com/puppetry
While having many useful pages within its own site, is mainly handy for its many links pages to other outside sites that collectively render it one of the largest databases of molding, casting, sculpting, mache, etc. information.
Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry dead link Descriptions of materials used for molding puppets, as well as instructions on casting, sculpting and carving, many of which also apply to maskmaking.
If you have good web links for any topic related to costume, please e-mail me at